5 Decades of Preserving Roxbury’s Rural Character for Generations to Come

ROXBURY, Connecticut – The Roxbury Land Trust celebrates its 50th anniversary this year at a time when more people than ever are using its nature preserves as a welcome outlet for exercise and well-being in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Established in 1970, the non-profit organization now has close to 450 members and 3,800 acres of land preserved, protected and maintained for public use. Under its stewardship, 32 different preserves offer 30 miles of trails, large swaths of woodlands and wetlands with precious habitat for wildlife, access to long stretches of the Shepaug River and spectacular vistas that maintain Roxbury’s rural character. In addition, the land trust maintains three working farms, a granite quarry and a 19th century iron mine listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Many people treasure Roxbury’s natural beauty, but some forget that the town’s wooded knolls, open farmlands and historic sites could have been lost forever if not protected by the Roxbury Land Trust,” said Julie Steers, the organization’s president. “We owe a debt of gratitude to our founders who had great foresight about the lasting power of conservation and to everyone who have given so generously to the land trust through the years.”

The land trust, which earned prestigious national accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance in 2016, organizes educational walks and hikes throughout the year, working with local groups and schools. In addition, the organization sponsors free educational talks to enhance environmental awareness and offers opportunities for community service projects for Eagle Scouts, Shepaug Senior Projects and others.

“The Roxbury Land Trust has done a remarkable job of fulfilling its mission of preserving Roxbury’s rural character for generations to come,” said Roxbury First Selectman Barbara Henry. “Roxbury residents, weekend visitors and neighboring communities all benefit from our town’s beautiful open space and the nature preserves have been a treasured outlet for many during the coronavirus crisis.”

To mark its 50th anniversary, the Roxbury Land Trust hopes to hold a celebration this fall depending upon developments with the coronavirus. A new website with interactive trail maps is in production and an art show featuring different nature preserves has been rescheduled for 2021. Replacement of Volunteers’ Bridge over the Shepaug River between the River Road and Orzech Family Preserves has also been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Governed by a volunteer board of directors, the Roxbury Land Trust relies on donations, grants, member support and gifts of land to pursue its mission.  For more information and a timeline on the history of the organization, visit www.roxburylandtrust.org or call 860-350-4148. Please check in to the RLT website for announcements or email barbara@roxburylandtrust.org for information on rescheduled events